Every biennial session of the Texas Legislature has its own personality. For the session that begins today, that personality will be shaped by an extraordinary set of issues and a bizarre political environment.
You don’t expect the top executives in the state attorney general’s office to turn on their boss, telling the agency and law enforcement that Ken Paxton has been doing favors for a political donor that have crossed the line into bribery and abuse of office. But it happened in 2020.
Demonstrations for racial justice and against police violence began in Texas and across the country after the killing of Houston native George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Most of the vote counting is over. Most of the noise, with any luck at all, is behind us — although the Electoral College voting happens in two weeks. Cross your fingers, if you haven’t stuck them in your ears.
If you don’t trust the election results at the top of the ballot, there’s no reason to trust any of the rest of it, all the way down to justices of the peace, school trustees and seats on the city council.
In a political environment like Washington, D.C., the kinds of legal perils encircling Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton might be grounds for firing, impeachment or congressional investigation.
The Texas Legislature won’t convene until January, but Monday marks the beginning of that session. It’s the day lawmakers can officially file legislation for the coming session — an opening look at the issues legislators want to address or at least talk about.
Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives have an eight-seat advantage over the Democrats. The minority party is spending boatloads of money to flip the nine districts it would take to regain the majority they lost in the 2002 election.
With Texans already casting absentee ballots, Gov. Greg Abbott is making it more difficult to vote by closing ballot drop-off locations.
Confused about voting? Voting clerks in parts of Texas are confused, too. All the political chatter about problems with the U.S. Postal Service and voting by mail has some election officials telling their voters to cast absentee ballots by bringing them to the main office instead of dropping…
The Texas ballots are set. The Democratic and Republican conventions are complete. But the issues that will drive some of our decisions won’t gel for another few weeks.
Texas Republicans may have found their best argument going into the 2020 general election, thanks to leaders of the state’s most exuberantly liberal big city.
Texas legislators have been shut out of the decisions about whether to open or close business, government and cultural spaces during a pandemic — a debating topic that now includes public schools.
It will be a miracle if Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar and his team of financial prognosticators are right about the arc of the state’s economy over the next few months.
Tuesday’s primary runoff elections in Texas, held during an appalling rise in coronavirus cases and a relative low spot in the presidency of Donald Trump, didn’t look like much, in historic terms.
The real question for thousands of Texas Republican delegates on the invitation list for what was going to be an in-person state convention next week is just like the one facing parents deciding whether they’re comfortable sending their kids to school in a few weeks.
“We’ll leave the light on for you” is a motel chain’s slogan. It also appears to be a principal coronavirus measure for the state of Texas, where the number of available hospital beds is more influential with top leaders than the number of sick or dying Texans.
The Texas Capitol has a capacity of 6,000 “if you throw the doors open,” according to state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth. It was closed for cleaning for two days this past week, after COVID-19 made its way into the ranks of the state police who guard the building.
San Marcos and other cities have found a way to keep money flowing into their accounts in spite of the economic shutdown: the international shopping venue known as the internet.
After more than a week of nationwide demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, top Republican politicians in Texas are suddenly allergic to racism.
The swarm of Texas politicians snarling at one another about how to run elections turned into a lawsuit — bringing hope, maybe, that some panel of wise judges would sort things out, make things clear, save the day.
As some pandemic doors are slowly opened, others are getting kicked in. Either way, individual choices are quickly replacing the weeks of government instructions about what and what not to do.
Really opening Texas would require the governor and like-minded officials to actually put businesses in a situation where they could operate and make money.
According to Republican leaders of the senates in Washington and in Austin, the next round of federal coronavirus legislation ought to include blanket liability protection for companies that reopen in the face of the pandemic.
If it lasts, last week’s plunge in oil prices could hit the Texas economy in ways that make it much harder for state and local governments to help the state’s residents.
The state government is about to administer an IQ test. Ready? Would you rather vote by mail from your own home or stand in line with a bunch of other masked registered Texas voters and risk falling victim to the coronavirus?
Austin has one of the best independent bookstores around. It’s called BookPeople. The general manager is Charley Rejsek, a former Texas Tribune employee who recently returned to the book business.
Political people have noticed the dissonance on Gov. Greg Abbott’s support for local control in the face of the new coronavirus and his disdain for it in recent battles over property taxes, rideshare regulations, paid sick leave and other local policies.
Disasters always test leaders, but a pandemic isn’t a hurricane or a tornado. It doesn’t come and go in a day or a week. It’s not confined to a geographic area. It’s invisible. It preys on the social ties that bind us into communities, cities, a state.
The political caravans depart for other primary election states today, leaving the surviving Texas candidates to sort through the results and get ready for the next stage — the quieter but important runoff elections that will decide who’ll move on to the general election.
Legislative majorities make the rules, and they almost always contend that the rules are there to protect legislative minorities.
Whatever happens in politics this year, however red or blue or purple Texas turns out to be, the state’s longtime emphasis on primary elections has shifted to general elections.
Even the kids in the elected class have visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, dreaming at the end of another year what might be next in politics, and for them.
Beto O’Rourke started his campaign for U.S. Senate with the same sad visibility the current troop of Democratic hopefuls is battling today.
By next week, we’ll know who’s going to have a primary. We’ll know who is going to have a fight in November, who’s quitting and who isn’t quitting.